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US Sec Def Averse to Restarting F-22 Production | UAE Cleared to Buy 4000 Hellfire Missiles | Parts and Component Swaps Mean More Delays for A400M

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Americas * Testing of the F-35A Joint Strike Fighter‘s tailhook has commenced at Edwards Air Force Base in California. The JSF Integrated Test Force has been undertaking the tests, with stress tests being conducted on aircraft AF-04 at speeds up to 180 knots. On Air Force planes, tailhooks are only used to help the jet stop when landing distance is insufficient or if the jet has a brake malfunction or directional control issue. They are designed as a one-time use device, whereas Navy tailhooks like on the F-35C can deploy, retract and stow. * Boeing is offering an upgraded Harpoon ER anti-ship missile as the ideal choice of weapon for the US Navy’s littoral combat ship (LCS). At present, the US Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) currently wants to mount the Kongsberg Naval Strike Missile (NSM) on the LCS; however, Boeing says the Harpoon ER is a cheaper weapon. Improvements to the Harpoon include a range extension from 67nm to 134nm facilitated by swapping the turbojet engine with a more efficient version and installing a lighter warhead. * US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter has come out against the idea of restarting the F-22 Raptor production line during a press […]
Americas

* Testing of the F-35A Joint Strike Fighter‘s tailhook has commenced at Edwards Air Force Base in California. The JSF Integrated Test Force has been undertaking the tests, with stress tests being conducted on aircraft AF-04 at speeds up to 180 knots. On Air Force planes, tailhooks are only used to help the jet stop when landing distance is insufficient or if the jet has a brake malfunction or directional control issue. They are designed as a one-time use device, whereas Navy tailhooks like on the F-35C can deploy, retract and stow.

* Boeing is offering an upgraded Harpoon ER anti-ship missile as the ideal choice of weapon for the US Navy’s littoral combat ship (LCS). At present, the US Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) currently wants to mount the Kongsberg Naval Strike Missile (NSM) on the LCS; however, Boeing says the Harpoon ER is a cheaper weapon. Improvements to the Harpoon include a range extension from 67nm to 134nm facilitated by swapping the turbojet engine with a more efficient version and installing a lighter warhead.

* US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter has come out against the idea of restarting the F-22 Raptor production line during a press conference at the Air Force Academy. Warning that restarting production would take away from other defense programs, Carter said “We’re busy upgrading them and making sure that their avionics and so forth are state of the art. But we don’t need to restart the F-22 line.” With only 187 F-22s produced, Russian and Chinese modernization has resulted in lawmakers asking the USAF to take a look at restarting the aircraft’s production in order to beef up its inventory.

Middle East North Africa

* The UAE has been cleared to purchase 4,000 AGM-114 R/K Hellfire missiles after the sale was cleared by the US State Department. Congress was notified of the potential $476 million deal on May 11 which will be delivered over the next three years in increments of 1,000 to 1,500 missiles by Lockheed Martin. According to the DSCA, “the proposed sale will improve the UAE’s capability to meet current and future threats and provide greater security for its critical infrastructure.”

Europe

* Russian Helicopters has been given the green light to develop a new helicopter to replace the iconic Kamov Ka-27 naval helicopter. The announcement was made by the company’s Deputy CEO for Production and Innovations, Andrey Shibitov, on May 12. The Ka-27 has been operational since the 1980s and is capable of detecting underwater and surface targets, disclosing their whereabouts to ship and shore points, or attacking them with airborne weapons.

* The Aegis Ashore Missile Defense System (AAMDS) in Romania was declared as operationally certified. A ceremony on May 12 marked the occasion with the facility covering an area that protects allied countries in Southern and Central Europe, significantly reducing the risk of potential attacks with ballistic missiles from outside the Euro-Atlantic space. Construction of a second Aegis Ashore site in Poland has recently commenced as part of the final phase of NATO’s European Phased Adaptive Approach (EPAA).

* Airbus is to swap out parts and components of its troubled A400M aircraft during regular maintenance and upgrades after cracks were discovered in a French aircraft. German lawmakers were notified of the updates after being addressed by Germany’s Defense Ministry. With three of Germany’s 53 ordered A400s delivered, the government has demanded retrofits of the three aircraft which did not meet requirements, such as air dropping of paratroopers and equipment, and medical evacuations. Feared delays to delivery may send Berlin looking elsewhere to meet its transport aircraft gap with Lockheed Martins C-130J and Boeing’s C-17 potential options.

Asia Pacific

* The Swedish Embassy has denied that it is in discussions to sell four additional Gripen fighters to Thailand’s military government. Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister and former Air Force chief Prajin Juntong told reporters that Bangkok is interested in getting four more Gripen fighters. Juntong made the comments after meeting Swedish ambassador Staffan Herrstrom. The claims where subsequently denied by the Swedish mission, who claimed that no such discussions had taken place. Thailand currently operates 12 Gripens.

Today’s Video

* Kurdish PKK militants targeting Turkish AH-1 with Igla MANPADS for the first time:

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